Serie A giants AC Milan made the race for the top four in the Italian top flight even more intriguing, as they edged past Fiorentina by a 1-0 margin at the Stadio Artemio Franchi.
Atalanta had earlier picked up a 2-1 win over Genoa in Bergamo, as goals from Musa Barrow and Timothy Castagne were enough for Giampiero Gasperini’s men, as Goran Pandev struck a late consolation goal for Cesare Prandelli’s men.
That result had taken La Dea upto third in the table with 65 points, two more than Inter, who have a game in hand and play relegated Chievo Verona on Monday. With Milan at fifth, this was a must-win game for Rino Gattuso’s Diavolo if they wanted to keep Atalanta in check.
The rossoneri started the game brightly, dominating and dictating possession and not allowing former boss Vincenzo Montella’s men too much time or space on the ball. And that period of pressure paid off, as Suso’s low cross towards the box from a deeper area met Hakan Calhanoglu’s head and was flicked in by the Turkish midfielder. The rest of the first half saw the La Viola grow into the game a little, as they began dominating possession and Milan struggled to sustain their pressure.
It the second half, the game opened up even more as Milan resorted to playing on the break, focusing on Fabio Borini’s movement and Franck Kessie’s runs into the box on the counter-attack. While Fiorentina scored a goal of their own on the break, as Federico Chiesa fired straight at Gianluigi Donnarumma and the rebound could not be on target.
That was probably Fiorentina’s best chance of the game, as Luis Muriel failed to impose himself completely. So did Krzysztof Piątek, who was not at his best in Florence on Saturday evening.
Milan are now only three points behind Atalanta and one point behind Inter. They would certainly feel that they are still right in the mix to get Champions League football, with Roma set to face Juventus tomorrow at the Stadio Olimpico. The giallorossi are just three points behind Milan after Gattuso’s men beat Montella’s struggling La Viola and could go above the rossoneri if they beat Juventus by more than a one goal margin tomorrow.
Fiorentina are still waiting for their first win ever since Vincenzo Montella came back at the club after failed spells at San Siro with Milan and in Spain with Sevilla. They have only scored one goal in the league ever sine Montella took over and that came in a losing cause- during a 2-1 defeat to Juventus. That too was scored by defender Nikola Milenkovic.
Despite the failures, Fiorentina have registered over ten attempts on goal in every game since Montella took over- a clear indication of the presence of misfiring forwards.
The defeat to Milan saw them slide to 13th in the table, only two points off the tenth place, which is occupied by Sassuolo with 42 points. Their next two games could well help them finish top ten, with clashes against Parma and Genoa yet to be played.